Top Studios are the most historic photography and filming sets in Barcelona. It has just celebrated its 26th anniversary and its executive director how the making of has been.
Top Studios were the first photography studios that Neo2 set foot in Barcelona. It would be at the end of the 90s, and there we have shot with photographers like JM Ferrater or Txema Yeste fashion editorials for the magazine and campaigns for brands like Pull & Bear or Lois. Today we talk to its director Manel G. Llovera about these 26 years of history in fashion photography.
photo session in one of the Top Studios photography and filming studios in Barcelona
Manel G. Llovera, executive director of Top Studios, tells us the story of these photography studios in Poble Nou, Barcelona
Top Studios has 5 studios in Barcelona that Manel defines as a “multifunctional multispace” for photographic productions, advertising and TV shoots, events…
In what year was Top Studios founded? And how did the idea of setting up a set come about?
We opened in October 1996. We have already completed 25 years. As an advertising producer, he missed rental studios in Barcelona in the style of the Sun Studio in New York or the studios in Miami where natural light prevailed. I agreed with photographer friends on the need to create them. We look for the place. Textile warehouse in Poble Nou in Barcelona. 1,500 m2 empty and diaphanous. 6 months of works. We opened the roofs so that the natural light of the Mediterranean could enter and the shootings and filming began. Godmother: Top Model Judit Mascó accompanied by Vanessa Lorenzo, Martina Klein and Verónica Blume.
Photographic production in one of the photography and filming sets of Top Studios in Barcelona
Why did you name them as Top Studios?
We baptized them as Top Studios because we wanted to make the “best” studio in Barcelona and also that was the golden age of the “Top Models” like Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer, Elle Macpherson, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell…
Decoration set in one of the Top Studios photography and filming studios in Barcelona
What was the Poble Nou neighborhood like when you arrived at Calle Alava? How has it changed?
In 1996 the post-Olympic hangover was still kicking in, especially in Poble Nou where the Port Olímpic and Villa Olímpica were created for the games and we began to leave behind the economic recession of 1993. The neighborhood, then and still today, is torn between the artisan and the industrial. Between trades and professions. Between the 22@ digital district and the plastic and creative arts studios. I think that, as happens in other well-known neighborhoods in large cities in the United States and Europe, this mixture is already its hallmark.
Top Studios collaborating with fashion photography schools in Barcelona
In your 25 years of history, how have you seen the evolution of the world of fashion and advertising photography?
In the technical aspect, the change is obvious with digital technology, although again the negative is used in some sessions.
In production, the significant difference is that there are many more sessions and shoots. Brands need a presence in a multitude of media and social networks, unlike the shop windows and communication loudspeakers that existed just a few years ago. They are forced to produce quantity and they cannot always be great campaigns. More than ever, the continuous presence of brands in the media prevails.
Finally, the aesthetic aspect determines the most significant change because it is a reflection of society during these 25 years. The image is used as always to sell but now also to denounce, combat, vindicate and convey the concerns of society. Oliviero Toscani championed this trend with the famous Benetton campaigns, which is now common to many. In fashion we see androgynous bodies, large sizes, fabrics that respect nature… Objectification, child exploitation in textile factories are denounced… In general, advertising talks about climate change, defense of minorities, gender equality. Topics about diseases are visualized and broken…
Fashion photography session in one of the photography and filming sets of Top Studios in Barcelona
Throughout these 25 years of history, what are the most mythical moments that you remember?
Personally, I prefer the anecdotes. Unexpected funny moments. . Sometimes we do not know the VIP or celebrity who is going to be in a session or if there are animals in a studio or if that day you are going to hear shots, screams, etc.
I remember entering the S4 studio “pissed off” because they made a deafening noise of engine acceleration and finding Valentino Rossi burning wheels with his world champion Yamaha. Or walking into the bathroom and, unaware that he was in Top Studios, finding Arnold Schwarzenegger washing his hands. To my surprise he put on a mean face, he stared at me and said… “Yes, that’s me”. Nice guy.
The actor Hugh Jackman (Wolverine) opening all the doors of the studios in search of the exit. .
Or meeting in my office with the director of a financial institution, trying to give a serious image of Top Studios and hearing louder and louder bleating until 2 goats that escaped from a studio entered the office. We continue to work with that bank 25 years later.
Lighting kit for a photo session in one of the Top Studios photography and filming studios in Barcelona
And the strangest requests that have been made to you to date?
Producers suffer much more. We are affected by the usual eccentricities of some VIPs and celebrities. Extravagant and complicated catering services that in the end are not even tried. The overzealous professionalism of some celebrity bodyguards looking for hidden cameras or mistaking couriers for paparazzi.
Visit requests for snakes, goats, horses, dogs, cats… days before the sessions and filming to become familiar with the spaces.
And sports brands pressing so that on the day of the session no one from the Top Studios staff wears shoes or wears clothing from the competition
View of one of the Top Studios photography and filming studios in Barcelona
Could you tell us what great names in photography have passed through there? And celebrities in general?
Mario Testino, Rankin, Ruben Afanador. Claudia Schiffer, Gisele Bundchen.
Lenny Kravitz, George Cloney, Scarlett Johansson, Antonio Banderas, Penelope Cruz. ShakiraMisha Barton
Messi, Neymar, Zidane. Pau and Marc Gasol, Valentino Rossi….and also the best assistants, producers, art directors, make up…
Photography equipment for rent as one of the services of the Top Studios photography and filming studios in Barcelona
How many spaces do you have for rent? What characterizes each one?
We have 5 studios with lateral natural light and three of them also with natural light from above. Obviously all of them with the possibility of becoming a “blackout” They all have different sizes and finishes to adapt to the characteristics of each project. I like to define them as “multifunctional multispace” for photographic productions, advertising and TV shoots, events…
Rental of cameras and flashes at the Top Studios photography and filming studios in Barcelona
Apart from space rental and lighting equipment, what other services does Top Studios offer?
An important part of our activity is the supply of lighting and camera equipment for outdoor productions and locations.
We also offer assembly of decorations and props. Recruitment of technical equipment: photographer and digital assistants, make up, styling, delivery… and support to the production teams in their needs.
Filming in one of the Top Studios photography and filming studios in Barcelona
In how many teams, do you have something special that is difficult to find in other studios?
We always work with the best brands in the sector and update our equipment with the latest news. To this we add the technical and production solutions necessary to achieve what our customers ask of us. That is the added value.
Latest fashion editorial for Neo2 shot by project11 in one of the Top Studios photography studios in Barcelona
Apart from shootings, do you also organize many events?
Yes. Related to the world of fashion and advertising in general. We do Streamings, Show Rooms, Product Presentations, Fashion Catwalks for professionals…
We also collaborate with photography and film schools so that their students can enter the professional world.
We are also especially proud to collaborate from the beginning with some associations and NGOs.
One of the photography and filming sets of Top Studios in Barcelona
What would you say are the characteristics that differentiate Top Studios from other sets in Barcelona?
Apart from the technical aspects that we have mentioned, it is our desire to serve the sector. It’s been in our DNA for 25 years. We empathize with the photographers and filmmakers, with the technical and production teams so that the projects are a success. Celebrities and VIPs bring “glamor” to our sector but the laughter and some tears, the complicity and emotions have been and are for the professionals, technicians and human team behind each shooting, every day at Top Studios.
One of the Top Studios photography and filming studios in Barcelona
Top Studios are the photography studios in Barcelona with the longest history. But where exactly are they and how to contact them?
C/ Alava, 32 08005 Barcelona
Telephone: +34 93 225 1555
Image of a photo session in one of the photography and filming sets of Top Studios in Barcelona with the photographer Pablo Sabater
One of the Top Studios photography and filming studios in Barcelona